Dr. Harriet de Wit

Founder & Primary Investigator, Human Behavioral Pharmacology Laboratory

Research Professor, Department of Psychiatry


Background: 
Dr. de Wit obtained her PhD in Experimental Psychology from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in 1981. Since then she has been associated with the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Chicago, where she is currently Professor and Director of the Human Behavioral Pharmacology Laboratory. In addition to her role as Principal Investigator for several NIH-funded research projects, Dr. de Wit serves as Field Editor for the journal Psychopharmacology and Deputy Editor for Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. She is a consultant to the Food and Drug Administration and serves on several scientific advisory boards at other institutions. In 1999 she received the Solvay Award for Outstanding Basic Psychopharmacological Research in Affective Disorders, and in 2009 she received the Marian W. Fischman Memorial Lectureship Award.


Research Interests:
Dr. de Wit's research focuses on the physiological, subjective (i.e., mood-altering) and behavioral effects of drugs in healthy human volunteers. Current projects in her laboratory include: i) investigating individual differences in responses to drugs, including genetic factors that influence drug responses, ii) examining interactions between acute stress and responses to drugs, and iii) studying the effects of drugs on impulsive behavior and risk-taking. The studies are designed to improve our understanding of the mechanisms underlying motivated behavior and of the processes underlying drug and alcohol use. Ultimately, we hope that studies such as these will lead to better approaches to preventing and treating drug abuse.